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Van Der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 1664 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Dark, dissonant, very difficult to get in for the average listener. Those things are probably why this is my favourite album right now. Comprised of only three tracks, but they are all outstanding, extended pieces. It all starts with Lemmings, which is filled with despair, but also a sense of hope at the end. The music covers so many areas, from mellow acoustic guitars to dissonant synths, and that actually fits much of this album. Man-Erg starts off beautifully with piano and vocals, then builds up to one of the most intense instrumental sections I have heard, complemented by guest Robert Fripp on guitar. After a short instrumental interlude, Peter Hammill comes back into a vocal section with his signature shrieking, questioning his own identity. It seems that later on in the song, Hammill has come to terms with who he is, and thus the music returns to a mellower section, and the song ends sounding triumphant. A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers is probably my favourite song from this band, as it contains everything that makes them great, and it really sums up what the entire album is about. Alternately dark and triumphant, Peter Hammill whispers and shrieks the band through twenty three minutes of amazing music where Hugh Banton's organ and David Jackson's saxes take turns playing the lead melodic role. The bonus tracks here are quite good as well. Theme One is a cover of a BBC tune written by George Martin, and W is a song that I don't know the history of, but it is a rather good song. Angle of Incidents is a piece with backwards drums and dissonant saxophones, with the sound of lighting tube thrown in to make things yet more jarring. Ponker's Theme is David Jackson's sax piece, and it has a more upbeat jazzy feel. It concludes with Hugh Banton's Diminutions, which has a similar feel to Angle of Incidents in that it is a dark, dissonant instrumental.
sean | 5/5 |


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